New UN websites & publications
VERIFIED – United Nations launches Global Initiative to Combat Misinformation
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese: https://www.shareverified.com/
The United Nations is launching “Verified”, an initiative to combat the growing scourge of COVID-19 misinformation by increasing the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information. Verified, led by the Department of Global Communications, will provide information around three themes: science — to save lives; solidarity — to promote local and global cooperation; and solutions — to advocate for support to impacted populations. It will also promote recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger. The initiative is calling on people around the world to sign up to become “information volunteers” to share trusted content to keep their families and communities safe and connected. Described as digital first responders, the volunteers will receive a daily feed of verified content optimized for social sharing with simple, compelling messaging that either directly counters misinformation or fills an information void.
UN News Centre Story, 21 May 2020
English – https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1064622
French – https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/05/1069342
Spanish – https://news.un.org/es/story/2020/05/1474802
“Good communication saves lives” / by Antonio Guterres
English – https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/good-communication-saves-lives
Spanish – https://www.un.org/es/coronavirus/articles/informacion-veraz-salva-vidas
Policy Brief: COVID-19 and People on the Move (June 2020)
COVID-19 leaves few lives and places untouched. But its impact is harshest for those groups who were already in vulnerable situations before the crisis. This is particularly true for many people on the move, such as migrants in irregular situations, migrant workers with precarious livelihoods, or working in the informal economy, victims of trafficking in persons as well as people fleeing their homes because of persecution, war, violence, human rights violations or disaster, whether within their own countries — internally displaced persons (IDPs) — or across international borders — refugees and asylum-seekers. The disproportionate impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on people on the move presents itself as three interlocking crises, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.
see also: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/covid-19-crisis-opportunity-reimagine-human-mobility
Policy Brief: Impact of COVID-19 in Africa (20 May 2020)
This policy brief takes a snapshot of immediate impacts of the pandemic on health, economies, peace, security, human rights and humanitarian assistance in Africa. It outlines response measures currently being taken by African and external stakeholders and provides recommendations to protect gains in the fight against the pandemic and maximise opportunities in the recovery for a more inclusive and sustainable future as countries emerge from this crisis.
see also: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/global-solidarity-africa-imperative
Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition (June 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic is a health and human crisis threatening the food security and nutrition of millions of people around the world. Hundreds of millions of people were already suffering from hunger and malnutrition before the virus hit and, unless immediate action is taken, we could see a global food emergency. In the longer term, the combined effects of COVID-19 itself, as well as corresponding mitigation measures and the emerging global recession could, without large-scale coordinated action, disrupt the functioning of food systems. Such disruption can result in consequences for health and nutrition of a severity and scale unseen for more than half a century.
see also: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/we-need-act-now-avoid-worst-impacts-our-efforts-control-pandemic
2020 Human Development Perspectives: COVID-19 an Human Development, Assessing the impact, envisioning the recovery (UNDP)
Global human development – which can be measured as a combination of the world’s education, health and living standards – could decline this year for the first time since the concept was introduced in 1990, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned on 20 May 2020. “The world has seen many crises over the past 30 years, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. Each has hit human development hard but, overall, development gains accrued globally year-on-year,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “COVID-19 – with its triple hit to health, education, and income – may change this trend.” Declines in fundamental areas of human development are being felt across most countries – rich and poor – in every region.
The COVID-19 crisis and the postal sector (UPU)
A new report released on 28 May 2020 by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the UN specialized agency for postal matters shows postal volumes dropping by 21 percent in 2020. The steep decline is the largest seen by the UPU since it began recording exchanges of electronic data between its 192 member countries in 2010. According to the data, which covers the period between 23 January and 14 May, international postal volumes decreased by 21 percent in 2020 compared to the same period last year. Only one of every 2.1 items sent are arriving at their destination within the same week, as opposed to 1.1 during normal times. The report lists transport disruptions, suspensions, capacity shortages and total stoppages, in addition to the impact of the virus on workforce capacity, as major factors blocking the supply chain. It also projects that negative income shocks on households could have a role to play in declining volumes. Researchers used official postal statistics and indicators constructed from electronic data interchange messages on postal shipments exchanged between countries to paint a picture of the pandemic’s economic impact on the activities of postal operators.
Development Policy and Multilateralism after COVID-19 (CDP)
The global COVID-19 pandemic is plunging the world into a socio-economic and financial crisis of an unprecedented scale, in addition to the acute health crisis. Many of the gains achieved under the banner of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are under threat. The crisis has exposed and exacerbated vulnerabilities and inequalities in both developing and developed countries, deepening poverty and exclusion and pushing the most vulnerable even further behind. This is a watershed moment. A sustainable, equitable and peaceful future hinges on the right national and international policy decisions. This document assembles analysis by members of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) and co-authors on different angles of the COVID-19 crisis and the challenges and opportunities it presents for development policy and multilateralism.
Ensuring Access to Justice in the Context of COVID-19 (UNDP / UNODC)
The COVID-19 pandemic and states’ responses to it are having an unprecedented effect on the functioning of justice systems globally. Courts are closing, reducing, or adjusting their operations, which can negatively impact the provision of timely and fair hearings, contribute to increased case backlogs, and lead to increased length of judicial and administrative proceedings. Certain groups, including women and children at risk of violence, undocumented migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and those in migrant detention centres are acutely affected by these changes. Reduced court operations may also result in the prolonged detention of pretrial detainees or of prisoners eligible for early release. Without functioning judicial oversight, persons detained while emergency measures are in place to contain the virus may not be brought before a judge in a timely manner. As states enact emergency regulations to counter the spread of COVID-19, judicial oversight of the implementation of emergency measures is critical to avoid the excessive use of emergency powers. The socio-economic impact of the crisis will also have significant justice-related implications as inequalities are exacerbated. Specific efforts will be required to improve access to legal services and legal information to empower people and communities to resolve their disputes, seek redress for rights violations, or counter discrimination on a range of issues including housing, employment, legal/residency status, access to health benefits or other social protection mechanisms. This publication highlights some considerations and strategic entry points for practitioners in ensuring access to justice for all in the context of COVID-19. It emphasizes the importance of upholding the rule of law, protecting and respecting international human rights standards and basic principles of legality, including the rights to equality before the courts and to a fair trial, as part of preparation, response, and recovery efforts on COVID-19.
Guidelines for Tsunami Response during COVID-19 (UNESCO-IOC)
Regional guidelines for tsunami warning services, evacuation and sheltering during the COVID-19 pandemic are now available to ensure the safety of vulnerable coastal communities from ocean hazards while minimizing the risk of viral contagion. Prepared by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), in consultation and collaboration with expert working groups within the Intergovernmental Coordination Groups (ICGs), the COVID-19 tsunami response guidelines provide specific instructions for each of the four regions covered by tsunami early warning systems: the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and the North-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (and connected seas). These guidelines aid to clarify possible confusion generated by COVID-19 sanitary priorities and regulations in regard to response actions during a tsunami warning such as evacuation and sheltering.
How COVID-19 restrictions and the economic consequences are likely to impact migrant smuggling and cross-border trafficking in persons to Europe and North America (UNODC Research Brief)
Executive Summary: “The unprecedented crisis that COVID-19 has suddenly unleashed upon the world is affecting all aspects of society and is likely to have an effect on the routes and characteristics of both regular and irregular migration. Smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons will also be affected in certain ways by the crisis. Many factors shape the dynamics of these two criminal phenomena, from the international political and security landscape to macro socio-economic dynamics and national law enforcement capacity – all of which have been affected by the global pandemic. The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, and of the measures adopted by governments to contain it, differ across the globe, and the effects of these measures on smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons are likely to vary from country to country and from region to region. This Research Brief analyses possible scenarios of how smuggling of migrants and cross-border trafficking in persons are likely to be affected by the COVID-19 crisis along mixed migration routes to two important destination regions: North America and Europe.”
ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. 4th edition
More than one in six young people have stopped working since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic while those who remain employed have seen their working hours cut by 23 per cent, says the International Labour Organization (ILO). According to the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. 4th edition, released on 27 May 2020, youth are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and the substantial and rapid increase in youth unemployment seen since February is affecting young women more than young men. The pandemic is inflicting a triple shock on young people. Not only is it destroying their employment, but it is also disrupting education and training, and placing major obstacles in the way of those seeking to enter the labour market or to move between jobs. At 13.6 per cent, the youth unemployment rate in 2019 was already higher than for any other group. There were around 267 million young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) worldwide. Those 15-24 year olds who were employed were also more likely to be in forms of work that leave them vulnerable, such as low paid occupations, informal sector work, or as migrant workers.
Justice for women amidst COVID-19 (IDLO / UNDP / UNODC / UN Women / World Bank)
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global emergency of multiple dimensions. Most national governments have adopted extraordinary measures to protect their citizens and overcome the pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 global crisis, 2020 was expected to be a year for reviewing achievements and accelerating progress on gender equality after 25 years of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and 20 years since UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. There is now major concern that COVID-19 and its impact will push back fragile progress on gender equality, including in relation to reversing discriminatory laws, the enactment of new laws, the implementation of existing legislation, and broader progress needed to achieving justice for all. This rapid assessment examines how the impacts of COVID-19 are threatening women’s ability to access justice. The assessment reflects challenges faced by women and girls of diverse backgrounds and socio-economic groups, including those experiencing overlapping disadvantages—for example, women on the front lines—and those facing amplified challenges in humanitarian settings. Cross-regional and local experiences are highlighted, and quantitative data is utilized where available. Past epidemics are informative—and sobering—in terms of risks for women and offer lessons about how to prevent and mitigate these risks.
Mobility Crisis and Response in the Time of COVID-19: The Republic of Korea’s Approach (IOM Issue Brief, 18 May 2020)
With the Republic of Korea (ROK), one of the very few countries flattening the COVID-19 curve without imposing nationwide lockdowns or border closures, IOM ROK and the Migration Research and Training Center (MRTC), have released a timely report highlighting the country’s approach to the pandemic. The report focuses on the country’s immigration and border management (IBM) strategies, which although maintaining an open border policy still successfully helped to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Since the first reported COVID-19 case on 20 January, the country of over 51 million people has 11,050 confirmed cases and 262 deaths as of 17 May. The report outlines the key elements of the Republic of Korea’s overall response against the spread of the virus which are likely to be of great interest to other countries currently grappling with the novel coronavirus and contemplating effective mobility management during the pandemic.
Museums around the world in the face of COVID-19 (UNESCO)
UNESCO launched a new Report on Museums Around the World in the Face of COVID-19, fruit of an international survey targeting museums, culture professionals and Member States. This Report, presenting a first evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 across the museum sector, sheds new light on the key trends of the world’s museums, their reaction in the face of the crisis, their capacity for resilience, and the challenges of accessing culture. The study reveals that the number of museums is estimated at around 95,000 in 2020, which represents a 60% increase compared to 2012. They are, however, very unevenly distributed across the globe. Museums have been particularly affected by the pandemic, as 90% of them closed their doors during the crisis and, according to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), more than 10% may never reopen. Facing the crisis, museums acted quickly to develop their presence on the Internet. However, the digital divide is more evident than ever: only 5% of museums in Africa and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) were able to propose online content.
Operational considerations for multisectoral mental health and psychosocial support programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic (IASC)
People all over the world are facing severe impacts on their mental health and psychosocial wellbeing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological distress is widespread among large segments of the populations, due to the immediate effects of the virus on health, due to the consequences of measures to contain the spread, such as physical isolation and suspension of services, and due to the worries about loss of livelihoods and education. The direct effects of the pandemic are compounded by the effects of ongoing humanitarian emergencies and sociopolitical and economic fragility in countries hosting vulnerable populations. The humanitarian community through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee has therefore asked for dedicated attentions and resource mobilization for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) within the Global Humanitarian Appeal for the COVID-19 response. In March 2020 the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support uniting 57 humanitarian organizations as member issued the Interim Briefing Note Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak. This document has proven to be very useful in the response and has till now been translated in 24 languages. It covers a set of recommended activities as well as messages for different target groups. The current document is an annex to the Interim Briefing Note and is meant to support the MHPSS operational response within the various sectors of humanitarian work. Approaches and interventions to MHPSS are not confined to one sector, but need to be integrated within many existing sectors and clusters. This document contains a wealth of operational information and practical approaches that can be used for humanitarian programming in health, SGBV, community-based protection, nutrition, camp management and camp coordination.
A rapid review of economic policy and social protection responses to health and economic crises and their effects on children: Lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic response (UNICEF Innocenti Working Paper)
This rapid review seeks to inform the initial and long-term public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, by assessing evidence on past economic policy and social protection responses to health and economic crises and their effects on children and families. The review focuses on virus outbreaks/emergencies, economic crises and natural disasters, which, like the COVID-19 pandemic, were ‘rapid’ in onset, had wide-ranging geographical reach, and resulted in disruption of social services and economic sectors, without affecting governance systems. Evidence is also drawn from the HIV/AIDS pandemic, due to its impacts on adult mortality rates and surviving children. The available evidence on the effects of economic policy and social protection responses is uneven across outcomes, regions, and type of policy response as a large body of literature focused on social assistance programmes. Future research on the COVID-19 pandemic can prioritize the voices of children and the marginalized, assess the effects of expansionary and austerity measures, examine the role of design and implementation, social care services, pre-existing macro-level health, demographic and health conditions and the diverse regional health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The paper also provides key lessons for public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A safe and healthy return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic (ILO)
This guidance note aims to assist governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations in developing national policy guidance for a phased and safe return to work, and provide guidelines for workplace-level risk assessments and implementation of preventive and protective measures according to a hierarchy of controls.
Strategic Considerations for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Key- Population-Focused HIV Programs (May 15, 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, including key populations at higher risk of HIV. And the gains made against other infectious diseases, including HIV, are at risk of being reversed as a result of disruptions caused by COVID-19. This is the background to a new report published by FHI 360, in collaboration with UNAIDS, which gives advice on how to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on key populations. With practical guidance on how to support the continuation of HIV services for people living with HIV and key populations, the report is aimed at helping the implementers of programmes to carry on their work.
UN/DESA Policy Briefs
DESA’s COVID-19 Portal features a series of policy briefs on COVID-19, which draw on unique expertise from around the Department. Since 20 May 2020, the following new briefs have been published:
• #77: How can investors move from greenwashing to SDG-enabling?
• #76: COVID-19 poses grievous economic challenge to landlocked developing countries
UNWTO Global Guidelines to Reopen Tourism
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released a set of guidelines on 28 May 2020 to help tourism sector emerge stronger and more sustainably from COVID-19. The guidelines highlight the need to act decisively, to restore confidence and, as UNWTO strengthens its partnership with Google, to embrace innovation and the digital transformation of global tourism. The guidelines were produced in consultation with the Global Tourism Crisis Committee and aim to support governments and private sector to recover from an unparalleled crisis. Depending on when travel restrictions are lifted, the United Nations specialized agency warns that international tourist arrivals could fall by between 60% and 80%. This puts 100-120 million jobs at risk and could lead to US$ 910 billion to US$ 1.2 trillion lost in exports.
Working with the environment to protect people: UNEP’s Covid-19 response
Report & Fact Sheets: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/working-environment-protect-people-uneps-covid-19-response
COVID-19 is a reminder that human health is linked to the planet’s health. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. They account for seventy-five percent of all emerging infectious diseases. To prevent future outbreaks, we must address the threats to ecosystems and wildlife, including habitat loss, illegal trade, pollution and climate change.
The following fact sheets are available: Zoonotic Diseases, Trade and the Environment, Enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions through Nature-
Based Solutions and Resource Efficiency, Global Environmental Governance, Green Jobs, Greening Fiscal Stimulus and Finance Packages to Achieve the SDGs, Waste Management.
Children’s Book on COVID-19
My Hero is You: Storybook for Children on COVID-19
Already listed in the April edition of our UNRIC Library Newsletter. Additional translations have now been published and the book is currently available in the following languages: Acholi, Albanian, Amazighe, Amharic, Arabic, Aranese, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malay, Bangla, Bulgarian, Burmese, Catalan, Cham Vietnamese, Chinese, Cornish, Croatian, Czech, Dari, Danish, Dhivehi (Maldivian), Dutch, Ede Vietnamese, Esperanto, Estonian, Farsi, Filipino, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarat, Guyanese Creole~Creolese, Hao Vietnamese, Hausa, Hiligaynon, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Irish, IsiZulu, Jamaican, Japanese, Jarai Vietnamese, Kannanda, Kanuri, Khmer Vietnamese, Kinyarwanda, Korean, Kosraean, Kurdish Kurmanji, Kurdish Sorani, Latvian, Luganda, Macedonian, Malagasy, Mauritian Creole, Meitei Mayek, Mong Vietnamese, Mongolian, Ndebele, Nepali, Norwegian, Papiamentu Bonaire, Papiamentu Curaçao, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Quechua, Romanian, Russian, Sango, Serbian, Sinhala, Shuwa, Slovak, Slovene, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telegu, Tetum, Thai, Thai Vietnamese, Tibetan, Tigrinya, Tok Pisin, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Welsh.
From My Window: Children at home during COVID-19
This United Nations book for young readers looks at the lives of housebound children during the coronavirus epidemic. Inspired by true events and people from around the world, From My Window shows children that we all have the same fears and that we can overcome them by being creative, and empathetic, and by staying positive and healthy. We will face other challenging situations in the future, and this book shows us that there are opportunities every day to love, learn, create, and connect, no matter the circumstances.
Lafya, the little girl and the evil Coronavirus (UNICEF Chad)
Arabic version to be available soon.
A drawn world, made of colours and rounded shapes, to talk to children in Chad and elsewhere. Lafya (meaning “peace” in Ngambaye, one of the local languages) is its protagonist, an 8-year-old girl who learns, discovers and understands by opening the doors of knowledge with the key of a typically infantile curiosity. She is the bearer of messages, contents and actions that should guarantee every child to be born, grow up and develop in a healthy and protective environment, in order to be a useful and active citizen who will contribute to the development of his or her country. In other words, Lafya is a heroine, the new ambassador for UNICEF Chad.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic crossed the borders of Chad, heralding a period of restrictions, alert and renunciation of a daily life that comforts both adults and children. Closed schools, inaccessible religious places, restaurants, bars and gathering places. In N’Djamena first, and then in the rest of the country, life has changed in a less sociable and more discreet façade, the routine rhythm has become slower and less authoritarian. Lafya doesn’t understand what’s going on around her: her parents don’t go to work anymore and she can’t see her girlfriends on the school benches anymore. What’s wrong? The answers are all given in the comic book “Lafya, the girl and the evil Coronavirus”. As you flip through the pages, the beauty of the drawings is combined with an informative and stimulating read. The words interweave so that the reader learns, in symbiosis with Lafya, how to block the way of the nasty virus that kills indiscriminately and all over the world.
A story, a life lesson, which becomes a pleasure for the eyes thanks to the talent of Blaise Tompte, a 29-year-old Chadian mechanical engineer who has made his true passion – drawing – his profession. “I dream of a better world and this world can only be built by children. That’s why I chose to draw for them. Children have a genie sleeping inside them, and if you can wake it up, they can do things that adults do badly,” says Blaise.
UN in General
About UN Documents – Video Tutorials
The Dag Hammarskjöld Library as launched three short videos to help you understand UN documents:
- Meeting Records: https://youtu.be/GuhWihUB80M
- Security Council Resolutions: https://youtu.be/G7NWQVwsNN4
- Secretary-General Reports: https://youtu.be/pxhg5K81EBU
The G2 at the UN: The United States and the People’s Republic of China at the United Nations (UNU-CPR)
Events surrounding the COVID-19 crisis have brought into focus the extent to which multilateralism generally, and the United Nations specifically, will be a central theatre for engagement between the United States and China in the years ahead. The role and powers of the World Health Organization (WHO), for example, have emerged as a canvas onto which a variety of actors have projected their visions of the future of multilateralism. However, to see how these engagements will play out, it is important to first have an understanding of the deeper, longer-term trendlines regarding US-China engagement at the UN before COVID-19 hit. This study aims to assist in providing that context.
The paper was written – and the research it is based on was conducted – between November 2019 and January 2020. As such, the analysis in this paper is based on the period before the COVID-19 crisis, although the final section includes some brief tentative reflections for what that crisis may mean for these deeper dynamics.
Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
2019 Annual Report of the Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems
As the world continue to manage the deadly Covid-19 virus and looks at ensuring that the recovery addresses climate change threats, the significance of advanced multi-hazard threat warnings and risk information has never been more widely acknowledged. This is highlighted in the 2019 Annual Report of the Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative, released on 20 May 2020 jointly by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Bank Group / Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). The report outlines the cooperative actions taken by WMO, The World Bank / GFDRR and UNDRR in the past year to save lives and livelihoods through the advancement of early warning systems with CREWS support. To date, the CREWS Trust Fund has delivered over US$ 43 million in project funding and mobilized an additional US$ 270 million from public funds of other development partners – realizing accelerated life-saving action and maximized finance effectiveness.
Broadband development and connectivity solutions for rural and remote areas (ITU)
Rural and remote areas of many countries worldwide continue to be sparsely covered in terms of broadband connectivity. Major challenges for rural and remote area connectivity include inadequate supporting infrastructure, difficult terrain, illiteracy, high cost of installation of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and policy issues. For many of these reasons, rural and remote areas are often not considered viable business cases by telecommunication operators. Meanwhile, the recent growth of teledensity in urban areas, fueled by mobile technology, has meant that the already existing digital gap between rural and urban areas has now widened. This new ITU study paper recommends ways that regulators, policymakers and operators can change that.
Digital Skills Assessment Guidebook (ITU)
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched on 28 May 2020 the Digital Skills Assessment Guidebook, a comprehensive and practical step-by-step tool for national digital skills assessments. It assists Member States to determine the existing national supply of digital skills, to assess skills demand from industry and other sectors to identify skills gaps, and to develop policies to address future digital skills requirements. The Guidebook, which draws on and complements the ITU Digital Skills Toolkit published in 2018, is designed for use by policy-makers and other stakeholders, such as partners in the private sector, non-governmental organizations and academia, who may need to undertake skills assessments at the national level.
Food Systems Dashboard
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and The Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World launched on 1 June 2020 a new easy-to-navigate online tool designed to help decision makers understand their food systems, identify their levers of change, and decide which ones to pull. Food systems encompass an entire range of actors – including, but not limited to, farmers, traders, processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and consumers – and the processes that get food from the fields to markets to tables. Well-functioning food systems can ensure the availability, accessibility, and affordability of nutritious foods for healthy diets. The Food Systems Dashboard is a unique holistic resource intended for policymakers, non-governmental organisations, businesses, civil society leaders, and other actors to enable timely visualisation of national food systems, understand the interconnections across multiple sectors, perform comparisons with other countries, identify key challenges, and prioritise actions. The Dashboard houses food systems of more than 230 countries and territories by bringing together data for over 170 indicators from 35 sources. It will enable stakeholders to compare their food systems with those of other countries, and will provide guidance on potential priority actions to improve food systems’ impacts on diets and nutrition.
Global Economic Prospects: June 2020 (World Bank)
Report, Data & Charts: https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/global-economic-prospects
Europe & Central Asia: https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/eca/brief/global-economic-prospects-europe-and-central-asia
The swift and massive shock of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown measures to contain it have plunged the global economy into a severe contraction. According to World Bank forecasts, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year. That would represent the deepest recession since the Second World War, with the largest fraction of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870, the World Bank says in its June 2020 Global Economic Prospects. Economic activity among advanced economies is anticipated to shrink 7% in 2020 as domestic demand and supply, trade, and finance have been severely disrupted. Emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are expected to shrink by 2.5% this year, their first contraction as a group in at least sixty years. Per capita incomes are expected to decline by 3.6%, which will tip millions of people into extreme poverty this year. The blow is hitting hardest in countries where the pandemic has been the most severe and where there is heavy reliance on global trade, tourism, commodity exports, and external financing. While the magnitude of disruption will vary from region to region, all EMDEs have vulnerabilities that are magnified by external shocks. Moreover, interruptions in schooling and primary healthcare access are likely to have lasting impacts on human capital development.
Integrating Health in Urban and Territorial Planning (WHO / UN-Habitat)
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight the importance of safe distancing in cities, a new sourcebook launched by WHO and UN-Habitat provides a wealth of useful information on ensuring human health is a key consideration for city planning. The sourcebook is designed to guide decision makers from the public health, urban and territorial planning sectors including planners, city managers, health professionals and others towards developing cities planned and built with a focus on human and environmental health.
Jobs in Green and Healthy Transport: Making the Green Shift (ILO / UNECE)
The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be a return to business as usual. It must be an opportunity to push the advancement of the sustainable development agenda. A structural transformation of the transport sector will be needed if environmentally sustainable, green economies are to become a reality. This could lead to the creation of millions of new jobs say the authors of a new study, released on 19 May 2020. The report examines the employment implications of four “green transport” scenarios in 56 countries in North America, Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, which are members of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It compares a ‘business-as-usual’ approach with scenario-based projections that run up to 2030. These options envisage an accelerated expansion of public transport and the electrification of private passenger and freight transport. The study finds that 10 million additional jobs could be created worldwide – 2.9 million in the UNECE region – if 50 per cent of all vehicles manufactured were electric. In addition, almost 5 million new jobs could be created worldwide – 2.5 million in the UNECE region – if UNECE countries doubled investment in public transport.
Marketing of Breast‐milk Substitutes: National Implementation of the International Code – Status report 2020
Despite efforts to stop the harmful promotion of breast-milk substitutes, countries are still falling short in protecting parents from misleading information, according to a new UN report released on 27 May 2020. The study highlights the need for stronger legislation to protect families from false claims about the safety of breast-milk substitutes or aggressive marketing practices, findings that take on increased importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Baby Food Action Network collaborated in the report’s publication.
Research on natural disasters and trade (WTO)
The WTO has published a new webpage on trade and natural disasters to provide access to research papers and WTO-organized symposia dealing with this topic. The webpage collates research on the impact of natural disasters on countries’ trading capacity and how the multilateral trading system can help countries respond to and recover from these disasters.
SDG Good Practices data visualization tool
DESA-DSDG, with the geographic information systems supplier ESRI, has developed a new, interactive visualization of the SDG Good Practices database. This online tool offers an easy way to search and navigate the current database of more than 500 SDG Good Practices by country and sector.
Special Purpose Trust Fund – new online portal
The United Nations development system repositioning aims to equip the United Nations development system with a stronger, better-defined collective identity. It aims to be a trusted, reliable, responsive, transparent and accountable partner to countries in the implementation of Agenda 2030.
Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being (WHO Europe)
The report compiles extensive data on the physical health, social relationships and mental well-being of 227 441 schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 15, from 45 countries. It therefore provides a baseline against which future studies can measure the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s lives. A new report from the international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study published on 19 May 2020 by the WHO Regional Office for Europe on the health and social behaviours of schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 15, from 45 countries, shows that adolescent mental well-being declined in many countries between 2014 and 2018.
The State of the World’s Forests 2020: Forests, Biodiversity and People (FAO / UNEP)
Urgent action is needed to safeguard the biodiversity of the world’s forests amid alarming rates of deforestation and degradation, according to the latest edition of The State of the World’s Forests. Published on the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May), the report shows that the conservation of the world’s biodiversity is utterly dependent on the way in which we interact with and use the world’s forests. The report was produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership, for the first time, with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and technical input from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). It highlights that some 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through conversion to other land uses since 1990, although the rate of deforestation has decreased over the past three decades. The COVID-19 crisis has thrown into focus the importance of conserving and sustainably using nature, recognizing that people’s health is linked to ecosystem health.
The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020
Interactive Story: http://www.fao.org/state-of-fisheries-aquaculture/en/
Report, Brief & Summary: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca9229en
Worldwide per capita fish consumption has reached a new record of 20.5 kilograms per year and is poised to increase further in the decade ahead, underscoring its critical role in global food and nutrition security. Sustainable aquaculture development and effective fisheries management are critical to maintain these trends, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Total fish production is set to increase to 204 million tonnes in 2030, up 15 percent from 2018, with aquaculture’s share growing from its current 46 percent according to The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA). That growth is around half the increase recorded in the previous decade, and translates into an annual per capita fish food consumption is forecast to reach 21.5 kilograms by 2030.
International Peace and Security
Concept note for the Security Council open high-level videoconference on the theme “Protection of civilians in armed conflict”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/402
Estonia, in its capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of May 2020, intends to hold an open high-level videoconference on the theme “Protection of civilians in armed conflict” on 27 May 2020. In order to help to guide the debate, Estonia has prepared this concept note and guidelines.
Gender, Climate & Security: Sustaining Inclusive Peace on the Frontlines of Climate Change
Report & Summary: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/report/gender-climate-security-sustaining-inclusive-peace-frontlines-climate-change
As countries reel from the devastating social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, gender inequality is shaping the experience of crisis, as well as prospects for resilience and recovery. A new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Women, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UNDPPA) reveals the close links between gender, climate, and security, and shows that women on the frontlines of climate action are playing a vital role in conflict prevention and sustainable, inclusive peace. Communities affected by conflict and climate change face a double crisis. The pandemic further compounds the impacts of climate change on food security, livelihoods, social cohesion, and security. This can undermine development gains, escalate violence and also disrupt fragile peace processes. Women and girls are facing disproportionate economic burdens due to different types of marginalization; gendered expectations can lead men and women to resort to violence when traditional livelihoods fail; and important socio-economic shifts can result from changes to patterns of migration.
Summary of the high-level open Arria formula meeting of the Security Council on the theme “Seventy-five years from the end of the Second World War on European soil –lessons learned for preventing future atrocities, responsibility of the Security Council”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/458
The Republic of Estonia hosted an Arria formula meeting on the theme “Seventy-five years from the end of the Second World War on European soil – lessons learned for preventing future atrocities, responsibility of the Security Council”, that was held on 8 May 2020. The meeting took place via videoconference. It was public and livestreamed on several platforms to increase the transparency of the work of the Security Council.
United Nations Integrated Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS)
On 4 June 2020, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2524 mandating the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), for an initial period of twelve months. Headquartered in Khartoum and with all-of-Sudan responsibilities, UNITAMS will complement the ongoing work of the United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes on the ground and work closely with the Sudanese Transitional Government and people of Sudan in support of the transition.
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Philippines (A/HRC/44/22, 4 June 2020)
A heavy-handed focus on countering national security threats and illegal drugs has resulted in serious human rights violations in the Philippines, including killings and arbitrary detentions, as well as the vilification of dissent, a new report by the UN Human Rights Office said on 4 June 2020. Persistent impunity and formidable barriers to accessing justice need to be urgently addressed, the report said. The report, which was mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution, noted that many of the human rights concerns it has documented are long-standing, but have become more acute in recent years. This has been manifested particularly starkly in the widespread and systematic killing of thousands of alleged drug suspects. Numerous human rights defenders have also been killed over the past five years.
Data Innovation Directory
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a new data platform to better understand migration and human mobility in times of crisis through new data sources and methodologies such as satellite imagery, artificial intelligence and machine learning, social media and mobile phone data. The Data Innovation Directory (DID), which is part of IOM’s Global Migration Data Portal, features more than 50 projects and initiatives that use these data sources to shed light on the implications for mobility during global crises, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
European Cities on the Front Line: New and Emerging Governance Models for Migrant Inclusion (IOM / MPI)
Cities and towns across Europe are facing common challenges managing increasing diversity and addressing the integration of migrants. Yet some jurisdictions in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe have pioneered promising new models for migrant inclusion, according to a new study jointly released on 28 May 2920 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Europe. According to the study, promoting “eye-to-eye” partnerships with civil society and involving migrants in local decision-making processes are some of the ways that three of these cities – Thessaloniki, Gdansk and Milan – have increased the impact and sustainability of local inclusion strategies. The main findings of the study were presented in a webinar discussing the main challenges and best practices that have been applied locally to ensure that migrants can better access public services, which is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. The IOM-MPI study analyses the possibilities to improve the governance of migrant and refugee integration. It also provides recommendations on how to make the most of local governance to boost integration results in the face of constraints such as resource gaps, shifting needs and volatile public opinion. The impact of COVID-19 has made migrant inclusion even more challenging as vulnerabilities have intensified and key services have come to a near-halt, while stigmatization of migrants is on the rise.
Guidelines on Statelessness No. 5: Loss and Deprivation of Nationality under Articles 5-9 of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (UNHCR)
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, issued new guidelines on 21 May 2020 on the loss and deprivation of nationality. The guidance is intended to assist governments and policy makers in interpreting relevant international law. The guidelines contain interpretive guidance on the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, one of two key statelessness treaties which together with the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, provide the legal framework to prevent statelessness from occurring and to protect people who are already stateless. They also contain guidance on complementary international human rights law relevant to deprivation of nationality.
The Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Roadmap towards Better Regulation (IOM)
Migrant workers can be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation during migration and employment due to factors including unethical recruitment, migration status, fear of deportation, or the inability to find alternative employment, particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis. On 8 June 2020 the International Organization for Migration is publishing new, pioneering guidance for Member States on the regulation of international recruitment and protection of migrant workers. “The Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Roadmap towards Better Regulation” provides clear guidance to policymakers on how to protect migrant workers during recruitment, migration, and employment. It is designed to help develop comprehensive, multi-faceted approaches to promote ethical recruitment, enhance transparency and accountability, and improve the migration and employment outcomes for all stakeholders.
Newsletter Archive: https://unric.org/en/unric-info-point-library-newsletter-archive